Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sickness, death, and sadness

When we come to our home in Kaabong, from our home in Ikland, we are usually in need of some privacy and down-time. Ikland is now the frontier, and Kaabong the base camp. We are pouring our people energies into the Ik and often feel like we have little left over for the Karamojongs in Kaabong. Right or wrong, that’s just the way it seems.

Yesterday was one of those days when we came down to Kaabong. Visitors came with all their requests. One man alone asked for medicine, batteries, phone charging, a job for his nephew, and food. A neighbor came at 8 am complaining that his child was sick. Okay, I thought, sorry for you. I mean, we get that all the time. What are we supposed to do about it? Take the child to the hospital. It’s only two miles away. Then the mother came two hours later with the same complaint. We gave the same answer. They delayed. The father kept working in the field. So did the mother. Noon rolls around, and they’re back in on our porch, stubbornly asking that we give medicine. We stood our ground. After all, we stopped holding clinics here in Kaabong since last year. We occasionally give medicine to our employees, but these people aren’t our employees. We’re trying to set boundaries. We’re trying not to promote unhealthy dependence. We’re being strong.

This morning we find out that the sick child died last night. The child of our neighbors and friends. The same toddler we took out to eat at a restaurant last month, probably his first time in a restaurant. That child is gone. Gone forever.

Should we have done more? Could we have prevented this? Are we morally responsible? Will they blame us? These are the kinds of questions that first assail us.

We know we can’t take on this responsibility. It would be too much to bear, and we wouldn’t be able to stay here much longer. But it still hurts. The 'what ifs' hurt. Sickness, death, and sadness hurt. Pray for us.


The Reeds said...

I'm so sorry... We are praying for you. Every time I want to call it's too late. I'm sorry for the stripped down, draining, defeating and confusing way Kaabong can make you feel... We love you guys and are lifting you up. I will call soon.

Tammy On the Go said...

I am sorry too, Oh the FAther knows...

Isabel said...

I don't know you and this is my first visit to your blog, but I want you to know that I don't think you were at fault in the scenario you describe. You made your limits clear and the parents made their own choices based on that. Your actions alone did not result in the death of a child. God is all-powerful, so you do not need to take on the burden of guilt in here. Let yourself grieve, but you know that you do not hold life and death in your hands. That is God's.

Please forgive yourselves for your role but also recognise its limits.